As the New Year is upon us, we gravitate towards new resolutions to better ourselves. Growing and improving is part of our nature and we may find ourselves overambitious at times. We set out big goals, and two weeks into it, we burn out! We jump off the growth wagon to run back to our old comfortable habits. Sounds familiar? So what does it take to change habits and reach our full potential?
The Japanese philosophy Wabi Sabi (not wasabi for sushi!) embraces beauty in imperfections. Take a pottery for example, the cracks and varnish defects are the very aspects which make it beautiful. The lines around our eyes may suggest a happy life spent laughing rather than old age. When we reach for perfection overnight and follow pre-imposed rules, we end up being too demanding of ourselves and we forget to appreciate the beauty that already lies around us. Therefore, the first step is to accept where we’re at, make peace with it, and agree we don’t have to have it all figured out.
On the mat
Have you ever been to a challenging vinyasa yoga class which focuses on arm balances?Let’s face it bakasana (crane pose) and astavakrasana (eigh-angle pose) are not for any Mr. Joe who just stepped into his first yoga class. It takes practice. It takes learning other asanas (poses) before embarking on the challenging one. It takes leaning in to the pose one step at a time.
When we accept where we’re at and enjoy the process of leaning in to the pose, we understand it is about the journey not the form of the pose itself. Our attitude toward challenging asanas on the mat creates the foundation for our attitude off the matt.
Off the mat
Small steps can seem insignificant at first but as we invest our energy into simple changes, small shifts occur naturally. It may be adding one healthy food to our diet, 10 minutes of exercise in a week, one minute to our meditation, a moment to be kind to the cashier at the grocery store, and we suddenly have momentum. When small changes are integrated, a solid foundation is created, we progress past a tipping point and leap into a new state of being.
On the mat attempting a wide-legged head stand, or off the mat targeting a 20 lbs. weight loss, it is a similar approach: mastering baby changes can have a ripple effect. We slowly overcome the walls that keep us stuck. We lean in to our full potential.
You are what your deep, driving desire is. As you desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4-5
May this New Year bring all the vitality, creativity, love and beauty you wish for!